The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) keeps the shin bone in place. When damaged, the ACL can cause the knee to give way during physical activity. ACL reconstruction is a surgery in which the damaged tissues in the ACL are removed and replaced.
- Symptoms of an ACL tear
Swelling and knee instability are common immediately after an ACL tear. Patients will experience heavy swelling within 24 hours, accompanied by a loss of range in motion, tenderness, discomfort and instability while walking.
ACL reconstruction is a quick outpatient procedure and is almost always successful. The ruptured ACL is repaired with a graft from the hamstring or patellar tendon. Surgeons use an “outside-in” technique that places the new ACL graft at the exact same angle that the ACL would be. A tunnel is drilled through the knee joint to where the top of the ACL would be, and a second tunnel is then drilled from the tibia through the knee joint from below, where the bottom of the ACL anchors. The harvested graft is then pulled through the tunnel at the exact same angle as your old ACL. The upper portion of the graft is anchored in at the top of the tunnel in your femur, while the bottom is stabilized by a bioabsorbable screw.